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Released: 2020

Features: Diplo, Swae Lee

“Close To Me” by Ellie Goulding, featuring Diplo and Swae Lee, is a manifestation of a raw and wild love that defies societal norms and expectations. The song explores the idea of two people drawn together by their mutual rebelliousness and shared disdain for social conventions, igniting a wild, animalistic attraction between them.

The first lines, “Even though we both know we’re liars / And we start each other’s fires” sets the stage for the story line of two imperfect people who ignite something in each other despite their flaws. Their relationship is not widely accepted, as indicated by “Even though we’re kicked out the party / ‘Cause we both hate everybody”, but they don’t mind being the misfits or the outsiders. They find comfort and acceptance in each other’s company, making them, ironically, the enviable pair: “We’re the ones they wanna be like”.

The chorus lays out the depth of their connection, a visceral, almost primal bond: “‘Cause I’m an animal, animal-al / Like animal, like you”. The repeated use of ‘animal’ underlines their intrinsic, base instincts that make their relationship so raw and unfiltered. The refrain of the lyrics, “And I don’t want to be somebody without your body/ close to me”, further emphasises this bond, indicating a physical proximity which mirrors their emotional closeness.

Swae Lee opens his verse with “You can never come too close for comfort”, reiterating this theme of closeness and intimacy. The rest of this verse paints a picture of a high-paced and unapologetic lifestyle (“Iced out body, didn’t go to college / Price tag popping, then you on a private”) that aligns with the themes of rebellion and nonconformity established earlier on.

The final lines of the song coincide with the chorus, with Goulding returning to her animalistic comparison, as she deeply emphasizes her desire not to be alone: wanting somebody, specifically her partner, close to her. This continual return adds urgency and a sense of raw, unabashed plea to it.

Overall, “Close To Me” is a passionate exploration of a more unconventional, nonconformist kind of love; one that is raw, primal, and deeply intimate.

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